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Getting to grips with great crested newts

A great crested newt survey may be required if you have ponds or standing water on your site, or within 500 m, that could be home to great crested newts.

The UK’s largest newt species, great crested newts use the water for breeding and will also use surrounding land, and it’s illegal to destroy their habitats, or to capture or harm them.

The survey consists of between 4 and 6 survey visits between March and June using a variety of techniques to see if great crested newts are present or absent. If absent, then that’s usually the end of the story and your works can continue without delay.

If great crested newts are found, we will use our extensive experience and expertise to get you the best possible result – in practice, this means providing you with a pragmatic mitigation strategy focused on minimising the possible impacts to your designs and timetables, whilst protecting the local population of great crested newts.

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Great Crested Newts: A Brief Life History

Newts are classified as amphibians as they live in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. The Great Crested Newt is the largest newt species in Great Britain, and can be found in ponds and wetlands throughout the country, although it is far less common in Northern Scotland, west Wales and south-west England. Great Crested Newts can be found in an urban, suburban or rural setting, living in or close to water. They are nocturnal and spend a large part of the year living on land, typically in vegetation or under rocks and logs situated within half a kilometer from a pond that serves as their breeding habitat, although some may venture further away. They return to their pond to lay their eggs in the breeding season — between mid-March and mid-June.

Current Status and Why They’re Protected

Population numbers have declined dramatically in recent years, largely due to habitat loss (ponds and wetlands) and habitat fragmentation. The Great Crested Newt is listed as a species of principle importance in England under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006, and is afforded legal protection through the Wildlife and Countryside Act (Schedule 5) and the Conservation of Species and Habitat Regulations (Schedule 2) due to their rapid decline within the last century.

As a protected species, it is an offence to deliberately disturb, capture, injure or kill Great Crested Newts. It is also illegal to damage or destroy any habitat where newts seek shelter and refuge. Only a licensed ecologist (with the necessary permits) undertaking a survey or mitigation strategy may disturb, capture and handle them.

How Our Newt Surveys Work

The above legislation offers legal protection to Great Crested Newts as well as their habitat. Consequently, any proposed development will first need to determine whether or not there are Great Crested Newts living within the development site or in close proximity to it.

We can assist by sending a licensed ecologist to conduct a Great Crested Newt survey of your site. This will involve identifying any ponds or other aquatic habitats that could potentially be inhabited by Great Crested Newts, followed by a survey to determine if there are Great Crested Newts present onsite or within half a kilometre of the site.

Great Crested Newt surveys are seasonally limited to the breeding season (mid-March — mid-June), when newts are active in their ponds.

What Happens if Great Crested Newts are Present on Your Site

Should Great Crested Newts occur on or near your site, your development will require mitigation and an EPS license before approval will be granted. We are here to assist you with the process. We will determine the size of the populations and formulate a mitigation strategy to reduce the impact of building operations in an effort to conserve these populations so that you can not only get approval, but can go ahead with your project knowing that you have taken the necessary measures to conserve one of Britain’s endangered species.

  • Thank you for all the work you have done. I wish to say, on our mum's behalf, that this work was completed in a most professional manner and I would have no hesitation in using your services in the future or indeed in recommending you to others. Mr Taylor
  • I found the content most clear, comprehensive and very helpful with regard to mitigation and maintenance works. Quite splendid altogether. I'm really hopeful that we'll now be able to pass the torch to a developer who will do justice to this quite wonderful Somerset wetland site. 

    Mr C Rees
    Rees Consulting Ltd
  • I have recently used Crossman Associates for an old farmhouse which had bats present - they were recommended by my architect who had used them on another job. I have to say they were extremely good. Not only do Alex and Fairbrass have a fantastic knowledge of protected species they take a very sensible and practical approach when it comes to developing. I would definitely use them again if required and would recommend them to everyone. Mr D Purnell
    Property Developer
  • We have used Crossman Associates on several projects now and have found them to be both professional and flexible in balancing the needs of the client with the requirement to preserve habitats on site. Their reports are well presented and thorough, always meeting the requirements of Planning departments and offering positive enhancement to our projects. Highly recommended. Mr D Hernon
    Hernon Associates
  • We have now used Alex from Crossman Associates twice, both for river surveys to enable us to gain permissions to working within and around water courses. Alex produced detailed, well-presented surveys that ticked all the right boxes to enable us to gain permissions we were seeking. Will definitely use again. Mr S Smart
    Stonewood Design
  • Crossman Associates provide a prompt service with concise reporting to meet our clients' needs. Mr B Lowe DipTP (dist) MRTPI
    Chartered Town Planner
  • Alex Crossman provided an efficient, timely and responsive service in conducting a bat survey of my barn.  He worked well with my architect to find an acceptable solution to allow the conversion to take place. Mr N Tinworth
    Private Developer
  • Crossman Associates has worked with us on one large project covering a range of surveys and specialist requirements. They have greatly helped in the removal of potential statutory consultee objections, which have been crucial to our proposals, by completing thorough and well executed reports and surveys. Mr C Phipps – Director
    Premium Estates
  • I have worked with Crossman Associates for over 3 years now in my capacity as a Planning Consultant and I have been consistently impressed with Alex’s approach to the variety of projects we have worked on together. Crossman Associates have delivered work that is both robust and represents best value for our clients. Mrs C Baddeley – Senior Planner
    Jones Lang LaSalle
  • Having employed a number of ecologists in the past it was a relief and pleasure to work with one who was co-operative and constructive rather than censorious. Mr J Marshall
    Marshall & Kendon Architects
  • I am writing to advise you that Crossman Associates has worked for The Landscape Group on a number of projects in and around the Bath area for our principal client. These works have involved site surveys and the production of reports for Ecological Appraisal and Bat Activity Surveys. All reports produced have been thorough and well detailed but with all supporting documents user friendly in layout and easy to understand. I have been impressed with the professionalism of Alex and his team on any works that they have been involved in for us and would thoroughly recommend Crossman Associates for all aspects of ecology appraisals. Mr S Ayliffe – Contracts Manager
    The Landscape Group
  • Whilst applying for planning permission for a small extension on our property we were advised by the planning authority a need for a Bat Survey was required to allow the application to be accepted. The application decision was put back by 2 weeks to allow this to be undertaken. I approached Crossman Associates who upon awarding the work supplied the required survey and report within a fortnight and allowed my planning application to be granted. I have found Crossman Associates to be knowledgeable, efficient and provided the required deliverables on time. I would recommend Crossman Associates to anyone who in the future require any the services provided by Crossman Associates. Mr A Powell
    Private Developer
  • I have used Crossman Associates on numerous occasions predominantly for Bat surveys and have found them to be helpful, reliable and pragmatic. They are competitive and always meet the programme that has been agreed. I would have no hesitation to recommend them. Mr A Simcox
    Nick Joyce Architects
  • Many thanks for your speedy response to our need for a protected species survey and report to the Local Authority Planning Department in support of our Planning Application. The whole process was carried out with expert professionalism ensuring we experienced no delays to our project. Mr S Inwood – Director
    Cadmium Design
  • I am very pleased with the service Crossman Associates provides. I find them to be very friendly and helpful and always pleased with their quality of work. Mr R Rowntree
    Della Valle Architects
  • Alex and his team prepared a full bat survey on my barns recently. Not only was Alex completely flexible and accommodating on timings and scope, he was a utter pleasure to work with. He was informed on all the latest legislation and very knowledgeable in his field. Alex also kept me up to date at all stages with his findings promptly. Alex and his team were punctual, polite and respectful in all their dealings with me and my property. I couldn't recommend Alex and his team any more highly. I was delighted to have chosen him as our ecologist, and will be sure to use him again in the future. Mr and Mrs Saksida
    Private Developers
  • We needed an ecological survey of a forgotten piece of land before building our house on it.  Alex Crossman quickly and efficiently obliged, so when we finally applied for planning, his comprehensive report formed part of our request.  The planners were pleased that it had been done in advance, and were equally delighted with Alex's clear and all-encompassing written report.  It was money very well spent. Mr and Mrs Mochnacz
    Private Developers
  • Thank you for your prompt response to our project. I am extremely grateful for your professional service and have recently been granted full planning permission. Mr P Ford – Director
    Building Contractor
  • We appreciate your prompt report – it has helped the prospect of a decision on our planning application before Christmas! Mr and Mrs Marshalsay
    Private Developers
  • I would like to let you know how pleased I am with your services. The delivery of reports has been prompt and professional, the reports to a very high standard, and at an extremely competitive cost. Mr P Broom FRICS
    Chartered Surveyor
  • Thank you for your services, the bat survey that you carried out was done very professionally and I would definitely recommend you. Bromsgrove District Council were more than happy with your report. Mr N Price
    Private Developer
  • Now that the wind turbines are finally in place, I would like to thank you for all you help. We could not have done this without your input and knowledge. We will not hesitate to contact you again. Mr A Cox
    Wind Energy Developer
  • In the midst of a renewable energy project, we had to temporarily relocate a hedge while a power cable was laid. Our objectives were to minimise damage to the hedge and preserve any wildlife in it. We called on Alex at very short notice to help us achieve these objectives. It was the first time we had worked with him, and we were immediately impressed. He made himself available at short notice for the initial evaluation, and then quickly wrote up a method for the work. He worked to the engineering team’s schedule to conduct a survey and oversee the hedge relocation, and cheerfully put up with appalling weather conditions. A good combination of professionalism and pragmatism, we expect to use Alex again. Mr J Thompson
    Green Nation
  • Thank you for the quick and professional response and for understanding our needs so well.  It was our first foray into the world of bat surveys and reports for planning and we certainly felt we were in very good hands.  Very happy to recommend you. Mrs V King
    Dave Fishlock Building Contractors Ltd
  • We have worked with Alex of Crossman Associates on a number of times for protected species surveys. We have always found Crossman Associates to be professional and very easy to work with. Their work is always detailed, comprehensive and delivered on time. Mr D Forbes
    105 West Architects
  • We appointed Crossman Associates on a fast-moving development where we obtained reserved matters consent quicker than expected; we needed answers fast which were developer friendly but also ecological sensitive: Alex was very responsive, and contacted the ecological officer with a prompt resolution, which facilitated a site commencement earlier than programmed. Furthermore, Alex was on hand to meet on site and monitor works within an ecologically sensitive area which ultimately prevented any further delays that could have been experienced. Mr M Hough
    Barratt Homes
  • We instruct Crossman Associates to undertake environmental assessments on each of our projects and have done so for the last four years. We've maintained this relationship due to their professionalism and swift performance, producing reports and mitigation strategies that meet the required standards whilst being mindful of the commercial aspects of our projects. We wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Crossman Associates. Mr K Bird
    The Silverwood Partnership
  • Alex is my ecologist of choice.  I’ve worked with Alex on multiple sites over the last few years and he always delivers results that are commercially focused. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Alex to my clients. Mr K Hunt
    Jones Lang LaSalle
  • Alex is yet to let us down. He offers a fast, reliable service, with an emphasis on providing practical, commercially minded solutions to Ecology matters whilst ensuring the safeguarding of protected fauna and flora always remains paramount. Mr B Ponting
    Jones Lang LaSalle
  • Atkins has used Crossman Associates for a range of ecological surveys since 2012.  They are helpful, flexible, competent and reliable, and dedicated to providing an excellent service at a competitive cost. I would not hesitate to recommend their services to others in need of professional ecological support. Mr D McLaughlin
    Atkins Global
  • Hamilton Properties Ltd have used Crossman Associates on numerous occasions over the last few years. On each occasion, we have found them to be efficient, friendly, and adaptable to our requirements. I would have no hesitation in recommending their services to other property developers. Mr A Marlow
    Hamilton Properties Ltd
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